Senate Approves Measure Blocking Evaluation of Upward Bound

October 19, 2007

Washington — The U.S. Senate approved an amendment today that would halt an evaluation of the Upward Bound program until Congress completed a reauthorization, or renewal, of the Higher Education Act, the law governing most federal student-aid programs. The Senate passed a reauthorization bill this past summer, but the House of Representatives has yet to introduce its version.

The amendment, which was offered by Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat of Ohio, during debate on an education spending bill for the 2008 fiscal year, is the latest salvo in a fight between Congress and the Education Department over the Upward Bound evaluation. The Education Department says the study is necessary to determine whether Upward Bound is serving the right students.

But some members of Congress and the Council for Opportunity in Education, which lobbies on behalf of Upward Bound programs, say the study is unethical because it denies services to some students. The study is already under way in several states, but members of Congress have made several attempts to derail it through legislation.

The Senate is expected to continue debating the appropriations measure on Monday, with a vote on final passage likely to come on Tuesday. If the legislation passes the Senate and moves quickly to a compromise with the House version of the bill, as expected, it will go to President Bush, who has threatened to veto it over its spending level. The Senate bill would spend $11-billion more on labor, health, and education programs than the president has proposed. —Kelly Field